Song of the Summer 2015: What's It Gonna Be?

Categories: Pop Culture

Taylor Swift in the "Bad Blood" video
As Memorial Day weekend draws near, you'll need a bumpin' soundtrack for your backyard barbecue, beach hangout, or somber remembrance of those lost at war. Problem is, the field of contenders for Song of the Summer 2015 is just taking shape (speaking of reflection: local writer Sarah Harper studied last year's crop, settling on Charli XCX's "Boom Clap").

So who will claim the SoS prize this year? The folks at Billboard recently launched an exploratory poll, which we'll use as the basis for our analysis into determining the season's hottest jam. There are plenty of familiar/asymmetrical faces (Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Britney Spears), some hot-shot producers (David Guetta, Skrillex, Diplo), and even a couple of newcomers (Fetty Wap, Tove Lo). Without further ado, let's break down some potential breakout hits.

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Allan Kingdom Entangled in Kanye Boos at Billboard Music Awards

Allan Kingdom at the Current's 10th Birthday Party in January.
If you're a St. Paul rapper (or a Bozeman, Mont., rapper ... L.A. rapper ... any rapper, really) collaborating with Kanye West is a major career win. But, as our own Allan Kingdom found out Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards, associating with Ye also carries some job-site hazards. Namely: getting caught up in Kardashian drama on national TV.

Such was the case last night in Las Vegas, where Kim's little sisters -- Kylie and Kendall Jenner, familial heirs to the tabloid throne -- were subjected to a volley of boos as they introduced their superstar brother-in-law. It's unclear why we're mad at Kylie and Kendall.

See also:
Kanye West Just Introduced Allan Kingdom to the World

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Breaking Down the Wrestling References on the Mountain Goats' Beat the Champ

Categories: Pop Culture
Merge Records
The Best Album About Professional Wrestling So Far This Year
This Sunday, beloved indie-folk-rockers the Mountain Goats play First Avenue. They'll be playing songs from their new record, Beat the Champ, a concept album about professional wrestling. While Minneapolis is known as a big wrestling town, the scope of topics explored on Beat the Champ is pretty vast.

So, we've decided to bring you up to speed on the subject of the squared circle by offering a little history about each track, and digging into all the wrestling references on Beat the Champ.

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Why Juliana Hatfield Has Stood the Test of Time

Photo by Johnny Anguish
The Juliana Hatfield Three is celebrating the 21st anniversary of Become What You Are.

Juliana Hatfield still matters. To think otherwise borders on irresponsible and is, at best, willfully ignorant.

In my mind, the Boston alt-rocker will forever be linked with Liz Phair, who made a bigger initial splash, but has failed to remain vital. As for Hatfield, she always stuck to her own path, and achieved a more lasting impression.

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Now That's What I Call Music! has 50 (!) installments

Categories: Pop Culture, Radio

Now! That's What I Call Music!
The Now That's What I Call Music! series hit a landmark last month with the release of its 50th compilation. That's right, the quarterly collection of today's top hits has been going on for over 15 years worth of yesterdays, making for an interesting time capsule and documentation of what was happening in popular music. But with the music industry having so many well documented issues, why is it that Now has managed to not only stay afloat, but flourish?

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My six-week-old recognized the song I sang to him in utero

Amber Taufen

The transportive power of music never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I hear the Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony," it's suddenly 1997 inside my head; I'm back in high school, daydreaming while sitting on my bedroom floor, and my little blue boombox's dial is tuned to my favorite radio station, which plays the song at least once a day. When Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" plays -- and I allow myself to really listen to it -- I'm back in 2006, and my dad has just had a fatal heart attack; to cope, I listen to sad songs that help me purge the waves of unmanageable emotions I'm feeling through catharsis, and Roger Waters helps me cry myself to sleep more than once.

Just a few weeks ago, the neurons in my brain connected a brand-new memory to yet another song -- and it's one of my happiest memories to date, so I know I'll enjoy hearing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" every time it enters my aural sphere. Here's why.

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Mike 2600's 8-bit True Detective theme goes viral


So if your HBO Go didn't crash Sunday night and you weren't watching Cosmos, then you obviously watched the season finale of the hit series True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

Not only has this groundbreaking series kept McConaughey on a actors roll and brought Woody back to a non-Hunger Games spotlight - although I am a huge Haymitch fan - but it was also quite rewarding for one of our own artists in town.

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With liberty and Miley Cyrus for all

Categories: Pop Culture
Photo by Eric Grunelson / Westword Slideshow

Miley Cyrus and I are proud members of the millennial generation. We take pragmatic idealism, dress it up in a Jordan jersey, throw on some gold grills, and then have a globalized party via Twitter. We employ tactics of cultural disobedience in promoting our neo-Libertarian ideals. We advocate for ethnic, racial and sexual diversity, and female empowerment. We have a vision, and it's all-inclusive. Your fallen world is invite-only.

Hate on us all you want. Our generation will likely get more shit done that all generations who came before us -- combined. We're the actual modern-day hippies, in search of a utopian existence as your "real world" structure continues to suffer collapse. You can argue with Miley and me until you pass out, but there's one fact that you'll just have to swallow: We are the future.

See Also: Miley Cyrus plays a twerking Michele Bachmann on SNL

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Danny Brown on oral sex at Triple Rock: It takes two to tango

Photo by Erik Hess
When Danny Brown returned to town with Action Bronson earlier this month, he said Minneapolis was one of his "favorite cities to play... and I think you all know why." Unfortunately we do, Danny.

Back in April at Triple Rock Social Club, the Detroit rapper was subjected to an infamous bit of kissing on his privates by a female fan in the front row, and an infamous bit of a social media firestorm followed. Notably, his tourmate Kitty Pryde struck a blow at the woman involved and called the incident a sexual assault, but Brown remained silent on the issue. Until now, which coincidentally is a few days before the release of his impressive new album, Old.

See Also: Danny Brown's Triple Rock show sparks unseemly oral sex controversy

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Why was Nelly in the Twin Cities this week?

Categories: Pop Culture
Photo via Theron Thompson
Here's Nelly at Wednesday night's Timberwolves game at Target Center.
Nelly hopped up to our frigid state for a few days this week -- not to sign the "Hot Cheetos & Takis" stars the KIDS, but apparently to do some food-related business with General Mills. Based upon some tweets and photos from the rapper -- in between some incessant promotion for a new song called "Hey Porsche" -- the St. Lunatic really got around town!

Below, take a ride wit us and see where Nelly headed around town.

See Also:
Nelly eats monstrous mystery dessert in Minneapolis

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